She could only be Shanaya for her debut. But today, she is Veera & Kaira, Badru & Gangu.
It’s been ten years from the time Alia stepped into Bollywood and over the years, she has given some remarkable performances. Her journey as an actress is highly commendable, but after Student of the Year, a lot of people pigeon-holed her into a single role. She was the rich girl in the Dharma movie.
But in the film, Highway, Alia played the character of Veera, a survivor of childhood trauma, who is abducted a night before her wedding. You see Alia, as an actress and person, slowly come out of her comfort zone. She doesn’t just break free from her childhood trauma, but also manages to look to the future and see a better life. It was a beautiful exploration of an innocent girl who had much to give to life. Even though she was abused as a child, she found the will needed to leave that behind. And Highway became the golden opportunity for the audience to see her coming out of her comfort zone, just like her character Veera.
Imtiaz Ali’s movies are always eccentric and soulful. Highway beautifully captures a bond between two strangers, Veera and Mahabir, and their endearing friendship is a testament to the fact that we are all so troubled, that sometimes all we need is someone who can understand us and listen to what we have to say, even if they’re strangers.
Alia succeeded in this role by the virtue of her sincerity and dedication towards the character and the script, which allowed her to transform her image of being bright and bubbly to someone who could prove herself as an actress. She was greatly admired for playing Veera by the critics and more importantly, a lot of young people view it as a cult film now.
A few rom-coms later came Udta Punjab. During its promotions, it was almost hard to remember Alia as a part of the movie. The ensemble had Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor and most importantly, it was the entry of Diljit Dosanjh into Bollywood. But it was Alia who stood out from the rest.
It takes a lot of courage to make a movie like Udta Punjab, as it touches upon the blazing issue of drug addiction in the state of Punjab. Amidst all the criticism and questions raised by the censor board, this movie proves to be the turning point in Alia Bhatt’s career. She played the role of Bauria, a migrant worker from Bihar who gets sucked into the dark nexus of drugs and crime. Even though Shahid’s character injects some humour into the film, nothing about Bauria’s terrifying journey will make you laugh.
Alia made us believe she was playing someone from Bihar, with her accent and mannerisms on point. Even though she shared screen space with other great actors, Alia remained resilient and adapted to the transition from Veera to Bauria effortlessly. At a very young age, she proved that she is not only meant for roles in male-centric films, but she can stand on her own in front of the other acting greats. With this movie, she transformed our perception about her, and made us fall in love with her as an actress.
If Udta Punjab was her Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghum, then Raazi is her Koii… Mil Gaya. Just like Hritik Roshan in that movie, she carries the whole film on her shoulders. In the movie, she plays the character of Sehmat, who agrees to marry into a Pakistani family and send the information back to India as a spy. It is a masterpiece among anxiety inducing spy thrillers. Our very own Uncut Gems. We as the audience feel that any moment now someone will walk in on her and find out that she is a spy.
Playing such a role is very strenuous. The amount of determination needed to be manifested to totally own the character of Sehmat cannot be simply put into words. Her training with RA&W Officer Mir, her soft and emotional side in front of Vicky Kaushal’s Syed Iqbal, and her pain of hurting people for the love of the nation are highly believable. The movie is patriotic as it captures the love of Iqbal and Sehmat for their respective countries, and Alia as Sehmat excels in this grey story by hitting every beat out of the park.
Over the years, Alia Bhatt has truly evolved as an actress. There was a time when she was marked as dumb in popular culture, but the cold truth of the world is, if you are good at what you do, people only remember you for that.
Outstanding performance after outstanding performance, she has charmed us all. Be it in terms of acting, performance, or the selection of movies, she’s shown drastic improvements all in all. It’s true that she is a product of nepotism, but she’s a rare talent. With movies like Highway, Udta Punjab, Raazi, Darlings and now Brahmastra, she’s proved why she’s better than others. If she continues to land such challenging roles, she’s surely going to shine the brightest.
One of Alia’s upcoming big projects Brahmastra releases tomorrow. Alia is seen sharing the screen space with her husband, Ranbir Kapoor and the legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan. Alia has experimented with her roles and by now, she’s proved that she can pull off a role in any genre.
Ayan Mukherji is a talented young directors who never fails to amaze us, and once again, he has come up with something entirely different and new in the world of Hindi cinema, i.e., good VFX. Brahmastra can truly serve as an example of a game changer. It’s true that we have come across many Hollywood movies with the top-notch usage of VFX but bringing this freshness to Brahmastra is exciting and will be spectacular to witness. Brahmastra will be like a cup of freshly brewed coffee on a tiring day.
The movie has been subject to so much trolling before its release already, but for people who have lost hope from Bollywood movies to create a singular gem, Brahmastra could be a great comeback. Brahmastra is a work of art in itself, for it took almost a decade to build something like that, and that kind of effort must always be appreciated and supported. The details that have been paid to the script, cinematography, sound effects, visuals will be a treat to watch and comparing Brahmastra with other movies is just so not right, because this is Mukherjee’s story. The only thing we suggest to him is to make sure to focus the sequels on Alia and her star power.